Song dialects propel evolution
Human evolution has long been shaped by culture. But can bats be affected also – especially through culturally tranmitted song dialects? Increased rates of speciation among songbirds suggest that there could be a strong correlation between culturally induced song divergence and speciation. CULTSONG will focus on the singing bat Saccopteryx bilineata, the first known mammalian ring species. Ring species originate from populations expanding around uninhabitable barriers, gradually diverging until they are reproductively isolated upon secondary contact. CULTSONG will investigate whether culturally transmitted song dialects accelerate speciation in bats. Ultimately, this project will help to elucidate the role of cultural selection as an evolutionary force complementing natural and sexual selection.
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